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What is asthma?


Asthma is the inflammation of the lungs' airways in response to "triggers" such as irritants, stress, exercise, or allergens. Allergens are tiny airborne particles such as pollen, dust, or animal dander. Asthma often causes temporary attacks of wheezing, coughing, and tightness in the chest. It can't be cured, but the symptoms can be reduced or controlled. The goal of asthma therapy is to help people enjoy a normal, active lifestyle.

Asthma attack prevention

The most effective treatments are to avoid asthma attack triggers and use prescription medicines. Although exercise can be a trigger, most people with asthma can exercise and participate in sports if their asthma is well-controlled. You can help prevent asthma attacks by removing allergens and irritants from your environment. If dust and molds trigger your asthma, cover mattresses, box springs, and pillows with special plastic covers. Washing bedding and pillows in hot water weekly can also help. Be sure to dry bed pillows thoroughly. If mold triggers your asthma, avoid using vaporizers or humidifiers, or clean them thoroughly and often to remove mold. If animal dander causes problems for you, try to avoid it. If you have a pet, bathe the animal weekly, vacuum frequently and thoroughly, and use a HEPA (high efficiency particulate arresting) air filter. Also, avoid cigarette smoke and household chemicals that can irritate the airways and trigger asthma.

Back to Ask a Pharmacist


Answers to questions regarding information about medications or health conditions are not for diagnostic or treatment purposes and are not conclusive as to the presence or absence of any health condition. Consult your physician for diagnosis and treatment of your medical condition. The information provided is not a substitute for medical advice. Advances in medicine may cause this information to become outdated, invalid or subject to debate. Professional opinions and interpretations of the scientific literature may vary. Walgreens' terms of use and general warranty disclaimer apply to all services provided. If you are in need of immediate medical attention, contact your physician, poison control center or emergency medical professional. If you need to speak with a pharmacist for non-emergency matters, contact your local Walgreens pharmacist or call a pharmacist toll-free at 1 (877) 250-5823.

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